Palghar will lose largest chunk of forests at 34.19 ha, followed by Dahanu at 29.05 hectares.
Mumbai: More than 200 football fields equivalent forest land will be lost for Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train, since as many as 131.3 hectares of forest chunk is slated to be used for the ambitious project.
A major part of the land is from Thane, Bhiwandi and Palghar district areas that also include mangrove areas. The information was provided in the Lok Sabha Assembly session, where it was also stated that no environment clearance is required as it is a railway project.
While the Thane district will lose around 16.1 hectares of protected, reserved and private forest lands, around 12.3 hectares of mangrove area in the district will be used for the construction of the project. Thus, it would sum up to 28.4 hectares of the forest area in total.
Bhiwandi is slated to lose 10.3 hectares of mangrove area, while 1.4 hectare of mangrove forest will be razed in Vasai. Among the affected districts, Palghar loses the largest chunk of forest area at 34.19 hectares, followed by Dahanu at 29.05 hectares.
However, the state environment department has stated that the high speed rail authority has to plant at least five times the affected mangroves. “The Maharashtra Coastal Zo-ne Management Authority has told the authority to plant around seven lakh mangroves as compensatory afforestation. However, the sites are yet not finalised,” said an official from the state en-vironment department.
Officials from National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) have stated that the bullet train project will also have an underground corridor in coastal regulation zone (CRZ) areas.
Meanwhile, environmentalists have raised concerns over loss of eco-sensitive areas for the project. “The project should not happen at the cost of several mangroves and huge forest land. The moved would become acceptable if the authority takes steps to mitigate the impact of the project on the environment, like going underground in the CRZ areas,” said Stalin Dayanand, project director of NGO Vanashakti.